What is the Difference Between a Master’s in Special Education and a Master’s in Teaching in Learning Disabilities?

While each graduate program sounds similar in name, there is a difference between a Master’s in Special Education and a Master’s in Teaching in Learning Disabilities.

If you are currently an educator or you are planning to become one, it is important that you choose the right Master’s degree program that delivers curriculum that you will benefit from as a professional. An advanced degree in education will most definitely make you more marketable in various educational settings, but only the right degree will propel you on the path that you want to go down.

Here is a guide that can help you decide which degree is best when you want to become a special education specialist.

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What is a Master’s in Special Education?

A M.Ed. majoring in Special Education is a graduate degree for educators who have completed their undergraduate education and want to work closely with children who have special needs. Students who are enrolled in this type of graduate program will complete curriculum that describes the nature of disabilities and psychological conditions that children of all ages can suffer from. States with special education licensure requirements will accept a M.Ed. in Special Education to fulfill formal degree licensure requirements.

After learning about developmental issues that special needs children can suffer from, the graduate students in this type of M.Ed. program will then learn about the affect that disabilities can have on learning. Students then become masters in adopting teaching strategies that are highly effective for students who have emotional disorders, behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, physical disabilities or other impairments. Some of the instruction students must complete when majoring in Special Education will include:

  • Intro to Special Education
  • Managing Teaching for Students with Disabilities
  • Teacher Leadership in Special Education
  • Student Assessment and Evaluation for Students with Disabilities
  • Developing Effective Special Education Curriculum
  • Legal Aspects and Special Education Advocacy
  • Evidence-based Practices for Students with Disabilities
  • Research
  • Capstone Requirement

What is a Master’s in Teaching in Learning Disabilities?

While a Master of Education and a Master’s in Teaching may appear to be two different titles for the same programs, the focus of each program is different. If you decide that you would like to study for a Master of Arts in Teaching, the focus of the curriculum will be advancing your teaching career.

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Not only will you focus on pedagogical theory and the implementation of that theory, you will also be given the opportunity to enjoy hands-on experiences. You will be placed in a classroom setting with students who have learning disabilities so that you are better able to practice the strategies being taught. Here are some of the courses that you will take when you study for your MAT with a concentration in Learning Disabilities:

  • Educational Research
  • Special Education in Schools
  • Introduction to Learning Disabilities
  • Teaching Methods for Students with Learning Disabilities
  • Diagnosis of Reading Disabilities
  • Psychology of Education
  • Collaborating with School Professionals
  • Trends in Teaching

Graduate degrees are not one-size-fits-all. When you are spending your time and money on a degree to advance your career, you need to choose the right one. Consider your goals first. Once you decide where you want to go, review the difference between a Master’s in Special Education and a Master’s in Teaching in Learning Disabilities and make the right selection.